An eight-month, $350 million renovation of the Metro Blue Line is now completed, and the transit agency is celebrating the re-opening of its oldest and historically busiest rail line Saturday with a day of festivities, and three days of free rides.
The line also has a new name — the A Line.
Renovation work began in late January, fully closing the southern portion of the railway between Compton and Long Beach for four months. The construction switched to the northern portion of the line — between Compton and downtown Los Angeles — at the end of May.
The renovation project includes new switches, an upgraded control system, new overhead power system, new digital information screens and other technology at stations designed to make the rail system easier to navigate. It also includes new signs, paint, landscaping and artwork.
Metro is offering free rides on the line for three consecutive days, beginning Saturday, to reintroduce people to the route.
The agency is also hosting community celebrations Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following three locations:
–The Bloc on Flower Street in downtown Los Angeles, near the Seventh Street/Metro Center Station;
–103rd Street and Graham Avenue, near the 103rd Street/Watts Towers Station;
–Promenade Square in Long Beach on First Street, near the First Street Station.
Hip-hop star Snoop Dogg — a Long Beach native — is expected to emcee the Los Angeles event.
The new name is part of a planned renaming of Metro rail and busway routes to letters instead of colors.
According to Metro, other rail and busway lines will retain their existing names until next year, when the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens.
The switch to letters is being implemented to accommodate the growing rail system — in light of the relatively limited selection of colors that can be used to clearly designate the lines.
The former Blue Line opened in 1990 and stretches 22 miles between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach.
“The A Line is a lifeline for the many diverse communities between Los Angeles and Long Beach who rely on reliable rail service to help them reach jobs, school, family and other vital destinations in our region,” Inglewood Mayor and Metro board chairman James Butts said.
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